‘You have to stand out’: Austin attorney David Komie ‘rocks’ — literally

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Lawyer and lead singer of the Dharma Kings David Komie performs in front of bar regulars at Hanovers Draught Haus in Pflugerville this past saturday. Known as the "lawyer that rocks" Komie is a injury attorney and has been practicing law for 30 years and playing music for 40.

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

By day, David Komie is co-founder and attorney for Komie & Morrow, LLP. By night, he’s the lead singer for his rock band Dharma Kings.

For more than 40 years, Komie has played music since he saw the 1978 Van Halen concert at Hollywood Sportatorium. Ten years later he began practicing law. With dreadlocks and a beard, Komie not only continues rocking onstage, but he and his business partner, Chris Morrow, run a local law firm together.

Before practicing law, Komie said he originally wanted to be a professional tennis player. However, when that door closed, the opportunity to become an attorney opened up.

“I was just ready to do some more school, get a higher education and do something with my life,” Komie said.

As Komie began pursuing law, he realized he was competing with many rich lawyers. 

“With marketing, you have to stand out in an honest way and ask yourself what’s unique about you as an individual,” Komie said. “Austin’s always embraced (my band) pretty well, so I decided to stay outside the envelope.”

When Komie began producing commercials, he first advertised himself as the lawyer who sneaks up on people, referring to his unconventional lawyer appearance. In 2011, Komie phoned Morrow, proposing the idea to be business partners. Next, Komie shot commercials while rocking onstage and even put up billboards advertising himself as “the attorney that rocks.”

Dave Junker, UT advertising and public relations senior lecturer, said this marketing strategy may either portray Komie as trustworthy or untrustworthy. For some, Komie’s approach might delegitimize his business, because he doesn’t resemble an official in the law world, yet it could help his business for that same reason.

“Komie differentiates himself from that stereotype,” Junker said. “For some people, this might be exactly what makes him trustworthy because (they think) the official world isn’t to be trusted.”

Morrow said although Komie doesn’t resemble that clean-cut lawyer stereotype, Komie is a great legal strategist.

“He’s been practicing a lot longer than I have,” Morrow said. “He can think of things that I didn’t think of and vice versa.”

With Komie’s rock star look and Morrow’s clean-cut appearance, the two appear on opposing spectra. However, Morrow said they complement each other.

“Certain people come to me, but then there’s other people who are attracted to the way David looks and go to him,” Morrow said.

Morrow said what makes their business partnership unique is that they not only share work together but also a friendship.

“I consider David one of my best friends, and it makes it so much easier to work together,” Morrow said. “We look completely different, but we think the same.”

Despite these positives, Komie said challenges still arise as people underestimate him sometimes, but he isn’t phased.

“Being underestimated is a gift,” Komie said. “(Luckily), I’ve been around long enough where I don’t get underestimated too much anymore.”

Although he falls outside the box, Komie said he doesn’t let people offend him because he’s just being himself.

“I’ve emphasized what’s unique about me as a way to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive field,” Komie said. “(And) I like myself. I’m not embarrassed of who I am.”